How to propagate berberis by cuttings (Japanese barberry)

Berberis (Barberry) includes a large number of deciduous or evergreen shrubs that are commonly used in gardening. In this guide we will describe in a simple way how to propagate barberry by cuttings. This is the most used method to reproduce barberries. We usually do hardwood cuttings of Berberis thunbergii and Berberis x ottawensis f. purpurea ‘Superba’.

They can be propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings, but as we like to keep things very simple, we usually do hardwood cuttings. The difference is that hardwood cuttings do not need any kind of complex mist systems or special care with the weather or sunlight. We can do this from the time the plant has lost all the leaves in fall, to late winter. Basically described:

  1. Cut this year grown stems;
  2. Get two thirds of the bottom buds removed exposing the tissues (see the picture below);
  3. Bury the cutting in a light soil. We use a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% coarse sand;
  4. Place the pot or tray outside, next to a wall for some shelter.


The cutting will develop roots during the winter and spring. Japanese barberry roots are yellow and very visible when they grow through the drainage holes. In the first year, the growth will be very shy. The cutting will focus all the energy producing roots and establish as a new plant. You can transplant after the full first season has passed and the plant is dormant again.

We updated this story with the results one season after this pictures. See next page…

Spread our dear plants:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *